The Summer of the Fried Green Tomato

Although I love making fried green tomatoes at home, I'm not that good at it. But when summer gets in full swing, I begin to crave the things like mad. And luckily, this year, an increasing number of Houston restaurants are incorporating the Southern delicacy into their menus -- and in increasingly creative ways. I've been saying it for about a month now: This should be the summer of the fried green tomato here in Houston.

I love the versatility of fried green tomatoes, the way they can be incorporated into a dish or stand alone as an already clever pairing of flavors: tart and barely sweet and salty all at once, with a crisp first bite and an easy finish. At Radical Eats and Greatfull Taco, the tomatoes are treated in this way, with only the simplest of ingredients to buttress the summery flavors.

Greatfull Taco's Viola Lee has become a fast favorite of mine, with a simple slaw of cabbage and carrots atop the chunks of fried green tomatoes wrapped in dual corn tortillas. Under the tomatoes, a vibrant swipe of garlic-serrano mayonnaise. The heat bolsters those tart-sweet chunks of tomatoes, just as the vinegared red cabbage does in Radical Eats' fried green tomato tacos (which will soon be available full-time at its new storefront on Fulton).

But as much as I enjoy these simple renditions, it's the more playful creations around town that have piqued my interest.

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Katharine Shilcutt